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Sovereign's Orb


Queen Elizabeth II holding the Orb

The Sovereign's Orb is one of the British Crown Jewels. It was created for the coronation of Charles II in 1661 at a cost of 1,150.

The Orb is a hollow gold sphere weighing 42 ounces and about 6.5 inches in diameter. Around the centre is a band of pearls and gemstones. There is a similar half-band running across the top half of the Orb. Atop the Orb is an amethyst surmounted by a Cross. The Orb is a religious symbol; it represents the Monarch's role as defender of the faith and as Head of the Church of England.

During a coronation, the Archbishop of Canterbury delivers the Orb to the Monarch's right hand. The Orb is then placed on an altar, where it remains for the remainder of the ceremony. At the end of the ceremony, the Monarch holds the Orb in the left hand, the Sceptre with the Cross in the right hand, and wears the Imperial State Crown as he or she leaves Westminster Abbey.

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